International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) will be back in Monterey, California for the annual Foodservice Conference July 28-29. The full schedule has been announced and includes prime networking programming, the expo and keynote speaker and Food Network star, Robert Irvine.
“The Foodservice Conference is the only place dedicated to bringing the produce industry to the foodservice sector,” said foodservice lead and vice-president at IFPA, Joe Watson. “With spotlights on fresh ideas on the show floor, and speakers who are all transforming the foodservice industry, we are excited to be back in the bay connecting in person.”
In addition to the Thursday keynote featuring Irvine, a world-class chef who has 20 seasons on his hit show “Restaurant: Impossible” where he helps struggling restaurants turn things around, Friday will include Monterey Bay Live!. This session welcomes guests who are challenging menus and appetites for produce including Michel Nischan, founder & chairman of Wholesome Wave and award-winning author, speaker and television host, Leslie Sbrocco.
More than 500 buyers and influencers are expected to attend, including an exciting new audience of menu planners and foodservice directors from several of the nation’s largest K-12 school districts looking to revamp their menus. The Foundation for Fresh Produce received a donation from Healthy Family Project, which announced in early March it was donating to the foundation to increase access to, and education about, fresh fruits and vegetables in schools as part of National Nutrition Month. This contribution is being used to bolster this new audience of K-12 foodservice at the event.
In addition to the annual Networking Reception at the Barns, taking place on the first day of the conference, the schedule also features Buyer Sourcing Meetings, peer to peer discussions and a closing reception that includes a Wine for a Cause Auction benefiting Brighter Bites.
The conference will also welcome the participants of the Leadership Program, a prestigious, year-long development experience for industry rising stars, and the Career Pathways program, which brings university students to industry events and provides mentorship and education on the industry and potential career opportunities.